Kyla Ross
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Kyla Ross retires from international gymnastics

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Kyla Ross, the youngest member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic champion team, has retired from elite gymnastics.

Ross reportedly mulled the decision for months and came to a conclusion after a January national team camp.

“Pretty much the past year has been a little bit difficult,” Ross said, according to the Orange County (Calif.) Register. “I know I’ve been thinking about it and just trying to understand and decide what I was going to do, so I thought coming into the new year I’d see how my feelings were and if I still had the drive and passion to pursue the Olympics. I went to the first training camp of the year and I just didn’t feel like my mind was in the right spot and I know that I didn’t want to go for the Olympics and put myself through all of it if my heart just wasn’t really there.”

Ross, then 15, made the 2012 U.S. Olympic team in her first year as a senior gymnast. She was the youngest U.S. Olympic gymnast since 1996.

She was the only U.S. woman to make all of the 2012 Olympic, 2013 Worlds and 2014 Worlds teams. She won silver and bronze in the all-around at the 2013 and 2014 Worlds behind gold medalist Simone Biles.

In 2015, Ross placed 10th in the all-around at the P&G Championships and removed herself from consideration for the six-woman World Championships team.

No U.S. woman has made back-to-back Olympic gymnastics teams since 2000.

“I’ve been competing for a really long time,” Ross said, according to the newspaper. “I know in 2012 I was really new and I was excited to be a senior and I think that’s why I had a lot of success, but recently it’s just been a little bit more difficult and I just feel like my drive and motivation is not the same as it was before.”

Ross, who is expected to compete collegiately for UCLA, is the second member of the five-woman 2012 U.S. Olympic champion team to retire from elite gymnastics, joining Jordyn Wieber.

Olympic all-around champion Gabby Douglas and floor exercise gold medalist Aly Raisman returned to competition last year and made the World Championships team.

McKayla Maroney, the Olympic vault silver medalist, has not competed since 2013.

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Dear friends, Today I am officially announcing my retirement from elite gymnastics. This has been one of the most difficult decisions I have made in my life but I feel that my time as an elite gymnast has come to an end. I truly love the sport of gymnastics and I am so fortunate to have been able to accomplish my dreams with the help of my coaches, family, friends, and of course my amazing fans. Having the opportunity to represent the U.S. through gymnastics has been a great honor and experience I will cherish. I would like to thank everyone for all the amazing support I have received over my entire elite career. As I make this transition to collegiate gymnastics and this next chapter in my life, I hope to still inspire people to reach for their dreams! Sincerely, Kyla Ross

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Jordan Wilimovsky qualifies for Tokyo Olympics in open-water swimming

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Open-water swimmer Jordan Wilimovsky is the first male athlete on the 2020 U.S. Olympic team.

Wilimovsky, who placed fourth and fifth in two distance events at the 2016 Rio Games, joined fellow open-water swimmers Haley Anderson and Ashley Twichell in qualifying for Tokyo via the world championships in Gwangju, South Korea.

Wilimovsky, 25, placed fifth in the 10km event on Wednesday. Anderson and Twichell were second and sixth in the women’s 10km on Sunday. Top-10 finishers at worlds qualified for Tokyo.

German Florian Wellbrock won by two tenths of a second over French Olympic bronze medalist Marc-Antoine Olivier after 1 hour, 47 minutes in the water. Wilimovsky led with 600 meters left. Olympic 1500m freestyle champion Gregorio Paltrinieri also qualified for Tokyo in the open-water 10km by finishing sixth.

The other American, David Heron, was 25th, missing the Olympic team, but he can try again in the 1500m free in the pool at the Olympic trials next June.

Wilimovsky missed a medal in the Rio Olympic 1500m freestyle in the pool by 4.17 seconds, taking fourth. Three days later, he was fifth in the open-water 10km, 1.2 seconds out of bronze.

Wilimovsky, a Malibu native who redshirted at Northwestern to train for Rio, earned gold and silver in the 10km at the 2015 and 2017 World Championships.

A U.S. man has never earned an Olympic open-water medal. The event debuted at Beijing 2008.

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Ted Ligety scales back race schedule

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Two-time Olympic champion Ted Ligety is scaling back his race schedule as he enters the final portion of his decorated Alpine skiing career.

Ligety, a 34-year-old who has endured many injuries since his last World Cup win in 2015, said he will race strictly giant slaloms this year. The World Cup season starts in late October.

“So it’ll be a little bit easier schedule on my body,” Ligety said in a KPCW radio interview in his native Park City, Utah. “I’ll be able to be home a little bit more as well, and then we see. I mean, I would like to keep going as long as I feel like I can win races and feel healthy. That’s really the biggest part, and nowadays I have a 2-year-old son, and there’s more factors than there was when I was 25 years old.”

Ligety, nicknamed “Mr. GS” for his giant slalom prowess, has a 2014 Olympic gold medal and three world titles in that event.

He also owns an Olympic combined title from 2006 and world titles in the super-G and combined from 2013, but he hasn’t won a race in one of those disciplines since January 2014. And since then, he has undergone back and knee surgeries and dealt with hip problems.

“There’s a lot of hard miles on my body up to this point, but I’m still enjoying it,” said Ligety, whose 321 World Cup starts are the most among active Olympic medalists now that Lindsey Vonn and Aksel Lund Svindal have retired. “Right now, I feel really healthy and trying to get to a point where I feel I can win races. That’s the goal right now.”

Ligety, a four-time Olympian, has not publicly committed to a 2022 Olympic run.

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